Geography as a subject is challenging. It not only improves your knowledge of the world, but also makes you re-evaluate your ideas and tests your creativity.
Adapting to the demands from the real world, geography is always changing and developing. It provides a holistic approach to understanding the environment and how humans interact with it.
There are few subjects in universities today that provide such a wide range of information and understanding of the world around us. Starting from basic courses in geomorphology, climatology, natural resources, the environment, population and human settlements, the undergraduate courses also include tourism, regional planning, disaster management, political geography and development studies. Courses in quantitative methodology, cartography, map interpretation, fieldwork, social surveys, report writing, GIS (geographic information system) and remote sensing equip students with hands-on skills that give them a professional edge over other disciplines. Concurrent courses in geography for other honours disciplines and discipline courses in Delhi University’s BA programme are well planned. Students at the postgraduate level can mix and match from a whole host of different areas of the subject. This can be very rewarding and lead to making connections and finding insights not possible in a narrower course of study.
Geography is not a vocational subject. It opens doors. There are many career and further study options open to geographers. Currently GIS techniques are being widely used by many businesses and government agencies, and thus geography students with GIS interests and experience have specific employment prospects.
Tourism and travel management, census mapping, the armed forces and jobs with an environmental dimension are all open to geographers. However, most geographers enter careers in administration and teaching. The demand for good geography teachers at all levels is phenomenal.
Life as a geographer is never dull and repetitive. Many of the skills you learn will enhance your career prospects and be of lasting value.
Skill sets required
Geographers need the ability to observe and map. They must be able to discern and analyse patterns in a complex world. The willingness to work hard is a basic pre-requisite.
Institutions at a glance
At the University of Delhi, only a few select colleges offer the geography honours programme and as a discipline in the BA programme. The departments at Miranda House, Kirori Mal College, Kamala Nehru College, Dyal Singh College and Shaheed Bhagat Singh College (Day) are among the best.
For Master’s and beyond, the leading institutes in India are:
. Department of Geography, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi
. Centre for Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University
. Department of Geography, University of Calcutta
. Department of Geography; Panjab University, Chandigarh
The author is associate professor, Department of Geography, Miranda House, University of Delhi